Having helped organize five small literary festivals, we've learned a few things.
I'm sure there are authors who are lost in show-biz - those who demand they sip water sourced only from Fiji, who expect a chauffeur-driven limo to fetch them - but we don't have those sorts of authors at our festival. We have hard working writers who arrive on time, and thank us as much as we thank them for coming to our humble festival. And even one lovely author who requested we put her fee towards our next festival.
No, we're not complaining about authors (we love them.)
The majority of our audience members are great too. They send messages telling us how much they enjoyed the event but there's always one, isn't there? Always one (or sometimes two, or even three.)
So if you'd like to emulate The One, or two or three, follow our simple advice.
1.) Turn up late and keep keep your mobile on with the loudest ringtone you can find.
Yes, I know you'd think that anyone who wants to attend these sort of events would know that but apparently some don't. So I'm reminding them.
2.) When invited to ask questions, ask rambling questions that will confuse everybody so much they haven't a clue what you are asking.
3.) Instead of asking a question when invited, tell the authors about your own writing, because it's probably worth them having a glance at it and putting in a good word for you with their agent.
4.) Turn up to events and ask the organizers if you can read your poem. Especially if it's a very bad poem. Don't bother waiting until there's an Open Mic or consider working on your writing until it gets good enough so you are actually invited to read at festivals.
5.) Turn up to an event early while the organizers are still placing chairs, filling water glasses, greeting authors and doing a hundred other jobs, and start telling them about your friend's idea for a self-published book and ask them if they'd come over to give her a bit if advice right now because she has to go back to LaLaLand tonight.
6.) Fall asleep and snore during the author talk. You could even dribble a bit to make it really special.
7.) Never clap after a reading or talk, but look bored and fiddle with your phone instead.
8.) Tell the organizers the sort of events you think they should do - remember to always preface it with 'what you should have done is...'
9.) Ask the organizers if they will sell some of your books on the book stall, and produce a bagful of them. Even though they haven't a clue who you are.
10.) Leave some of your books on the bookstall - because you have better things to do than hang around a lit fest - and expect the bookseller to sell your books and give you the full amount. Remember to leave a note for the organizers telling them where to drop off the money and the books that are left.
And that, dear reader, is how to be a right pain in the cervical spine. (Like the anatomy/book reference there?)
P.S. Those who wish to adhere to these rules please don't put our next festival in your diary. If you're the rebellious sort of person who chooses to disobey them, then please do.